This is the section where I review books I haven’t read. I have received some criticism about this section. Comments like “You have to be the laziest book reviewer ever.” and “Those reviews are just too lazy.” I shall carry on in the face of adversity. Today’s book is the randomly chosen “The River Congo - the Discovery, Exploration, and Exploitation of the World’s Most Dramatic River.” And by random, I mean the book was lying on my desk waiting to be processed and I had to reach about 5 inches to get a hold of it.
I just read the back of the book and it says, in part, “makes the fictional struggles of Bogart and Hepburn pale by comparison.” What? Oh, ”The African Queen.” I loathed that movie. I was forced to watch it in typing class during summer school and hated every minute of it. This is a bad omen.
Apparently the Congo is 2,716 miles long. It seems to wind all over the place and actually flows north for a while before hooking left and falling to the Atlantic. The book covers the Kongo Kingdom, the Atlantic Slave Trade, King Leopold II of Belgium, and the Simba massacres of 1964. That’s all depressing. If you remember Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”, you know something of what King Leopold did in the Congo. But Conrad ends his story before the horror truly began. Conrad was a river boat Captain on the Congo when Leopold’s only source of revenue was ivory. The word “rubber” isn’t in “Heart of Darkness” because Conrad was back in England before the price of rubber skyrocketed. The massive industrial demand for rubber triggered Leopold to kill millions. Rubber vines happen to grow wild all throughout the Congo. Ever been to Brussels? Ever wonder how the Belgians paid for all those cool statues, museums, avenues, and parks?